PGSM came out exclusively in Japan. It ran from October 4, 2003 to September 25, 2004, and was a retelling of Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon's first major story arc, albeit with considerable plot divergences.
The series lasted 49 episodes (called "Acts"), and also included two separate made-for-DVD specials, for a total of 51 acts.
Standing in their way are the Sailor Senshi, five middle-school-aged girls: Perky Usagi Tsukino, genius Ami Mizuno, paranormally gifted shrine maiden Rei Hino, tomboyish Makoto Kino, and J-pop idol Minako Aino; two beings that appear to be sentient stuffed cats (Luna and Artemis); and Tuxedo Mask, a jewel thief in search of a Silver Crystal.
Later in the series, Metaria and Sailor Moon each get too powerful to be reined in, and the conflict shifts to attempting to postpone the inevitable destruction of the planet Earth. (It looks like Earth is plunged into darkness and not actually destroyed per se, but the effect is the same.)
Although Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is a retelling of the first manga story arc, there are many differences that set it apart from the manga and anime. The storylines are more character-based and driven, focusing on the girls' civilian lives and their connection to the past more than on action sequences. While the first few episodes seemed directly based on anime and manga story lines, by the time Sailor Jupiter had arrived the show was starting to spin off in its own direction. Additionally, Usagi and Rei's relationship is closer in spirit to the manga; while they have their disagreements, it never gets to the heated level that it does in the anime.
One of the largest changes was to the character of Minako Aino, who, rather than being an ordinary girl among the other Senshi, is a famous pop idol. When introduced, she is fighting crime under the alias "Sailor V" (as in the other versions), and makes subtle reference to this double life in her music. Her most popular song, "C'est La Vie" (French for "That's Life!"), is a Japanese pun. In Japanese, the pronunciation of "Sailor V" (セーラーＶ [seːɺaːbwi]) is nearly identical to the Japanese pronunciation of "C'est La Vie." The song has an insouciant and uplifting tone, while the real phrase is a reminder that life can be harsh. For more information, see Minako Aino - In the live-action series.
In addition to plotline changes, some updating has been done to minor elements of the series, making them more in line with modern culture. For example, in the original anime and manga, there were scenes involving Ami and a cassette tape. In the new version, the tape is replaced by a MiniDisc. Instead of a transformation pen and communicators, each Senshi is given a magical camera phone and bracelets. Also, their secret hideout is not hidden in a video arcade, but rather in a magic karaoke room.
With the new adaptation of the show, certain characters were modified to give it freshness and originality. New aspects and forms include Sailor Luna, Dark Sailor Mercury, and Princess Sailor Moon. A new antagonist is also introduced: Mio Kuroki.
Mio is revealed to be created from a part of Queen Beryl herself, apparently to do harm to Usagi. After kidnapping Mamoru, her main role is to keep an eye on him for Beryl. The only powers of her own she demonstrates are slight mind control powers, and teleportation, of both herself and others.
Toward the end of the series, Mio is apparently killed by Endymion/Metaria; she is somehow resurrected, however, as the main villain of the "Special Act". Once again, she kidnaps Mamoru, this time wanting to marry him so they can rule a new Dark Kingdom as King and Queen. She is confronted and attacked by the Shitennou, forcing her to transform into a plant-like monster that makes quick work of her former allies. Ultimately, her final form is destroyed by the Senshi's combined powers, channeled through the Moon Stick in the Sailor Planet attack.
After her revival for the Special Act, she seems to gain new powers. She can repair objects, cause them to appear out of thin air, and create monsters from flames. She can also summon legions of pierrot, or clowns, to serve her and gather energy, even creating replicas of the Shitennou. Mio is also able to brainwash others and transform into a plant-like monster. At one point she interrupts a television broadcast to announce that she is taking over.
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Many of these actors also appear in the Kamen Rider series, including Jyouji Shibue (Mamoru), as Kamen Rider Ibuki, and Masaya Kikawada (Motoki), as Kamen Rider Ichigo in large roles. Hiroyuki Matsumoto (Nephrite) and Akira Kubodera (Kunzite) also appear, as well as Tomohisa Yuge (the fake Tuxedo Mask from PGSM Act 9), who portrayed Kamen Rider Zolda and Kamen Rider TheBee, and Satoshi Ichijo (Yuuto from Act 32), who played Kamen Rider Gai. More recently, Rina Koike (Luna in human form) currently plays Shizuka Nomura from Kamen Rider Kiva.
|Act 14 January 10, 2004 - 4.0%|
|Act 15 January 17, 2004 - 3.2%|
|Act 16 January 24, 2004 - 3.2%|
|Act 17 January 31, 2004 - 4.7%|
|Act 18 February 7, 2004 - 3.8%|
There are several radio programs called "DJ Moon" based on the show that originated from Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting radio and were broadcast on other radio networks in Japan. The shows were a combination of a radio drama and promotional tool for the TV series, often foreshadowing upcoming events. These shows were later sold on CD.
The live action broadcast's ratings were not as high as those of the original show. The show had a high start, but then the ratings slid. They picked up in January 2004 and then again at the end of the series.
In addition to the broadcast television show, there was also a stage musical performance, Kirari Super Live! by characters on the show. Some footage from the filming of the stage show was used in the television broadcast. A special limited-edition promotional video, Super Dance Lesson, was available for purchase only through order forms found in the magazines Youchien, Mebae, and Shougaku Ichinensei in July 2004.